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Letters to the editor, July 4, 2013

These are the letters and comments from the print edition

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Scratch Bastid saves the day

Well Halifax, you failed on Canada's birthday! My friend and I ventured out for free pancakes to start the day off, only to arrive at 9am (an hour after it started) and quickly be informed: "Sorry, there are no pancakes left." So we put our tails between our legs and went off to run errands before we headed back to the Public Gardens for the free live music. After waiting with a crowd of others for 55 minutes, we were informed: "There will be no live music today because the stage got wet." What, no mops?! So again, we put our tails between our legs and went off to entertain ourselves until the fireworks. Again, fail. We were informed: "There will be no fireworks due to the weather." It hadn't rained for hours! What is going on Halifax?! We looked to our right, only to catch eyes with another couple and we both said, "Oh Halifax," with such disappointment and disgust. It's almost expected that this city cancels or does whatever it wants and doesn't really care. I hope it's not acceptable, because it's embarrassing! So finally, we caught Scratch Bastid's set! His energy and talent helped us get past the disappointing day. Thank you for saving Canada Day Scratch Bastid! Hopefully next year Halifax will rise to the occasion rain or shine.—Roberta, via email


E-voting trustworthy or not?

One of the obvious problems with electronic voting systems is that the electorate can never be sure whether there was skullduggery or not. So, whatever participation it gains you among lazy voters, you will lose some among the rightfully skeptical. An additional problem with distance voting is the coercion that can be brought to bear by power-holders in the family or other social group. A remote voting system automatically grants those power-holders extra votes and disenfranchises the others. The "sanctity of the polling booth" is not an idle phrase. And to argue that the physical method is too expensive is balderdash. Most of us in a democratic society recognize that the trustworthiness of a voting system is priceless. But the candidate representatives who count the paper votes are volunteers, so as well as being reliable and verifiable, physical balloting is economical.—Emanuel Jannasch Jollimore, via email

Personally I don't see a news story here and even if there was, I can't really bring myself to care. No matter who we vote in at every position it's all the same. All rates will go up, taxes will go up, the politicians' pay will go up and mine will not. Illegal votes are the only way we'll get our voter turnout up, because more and more people just aren't even bothering. —posted by Brandon Wilcox at thecoast.ca

A negative proof is a logical fallacy which takes the structure of: "X is true because there is no proof that X is false." If you're saying that online votes were tampered with because no one

can show you proof that they weren't, then you're setting up a non-winnable argument. The reason you're not getting answers you'll accept isn't because there's some conspiracy to steal the election. It's because there is no answer that exists that will satisfy your predisposition against online voting. The litmus test you've set up for online voting to pass your transparency threshold will fail if applied to paper ballots as well.—posted by issmat

CBC interviewed the city clerk about this. The city clerk asserts it was absolutely secure, despite what your anonymous security expert claims. The service provider also supports secure election results through technologies that included end-to-end encryption, immutable logs, and a system generated receipt produced at the time the vote is cast. If it were stolen, then the receipts of voters would have indicated something contrary to the published results of the vote. THEN you might have a story. Right now, this story is nothing but conjecture.—posted by voterguy

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